3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life

Are You Fully Charged?

Are you at the top of your game?

Have more energy than you need?

Is your work meaningful?

In recent research only 11 percent of people said that they have a great deal of energy. If you want to rev up your engine, read on.

One of my very favorite authors, Tom Rath has a brand new book called Are You Fully Charged?: The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life. Tom is a researcher at Gallup who studies human behavior. You may know him from any of his five New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. From How Full Is Your Bucket? to StrengthsFinder 2.0 every one of his books inspires and challenges. We recently discussed what it takes to be fully charged at work and in life.

“The pursuit of meaning, not happiness, is what makes life worthwhile.” –Tom Rath

Maintain a Positive Attitude

You open the book with your own personal health challenge. How do you maintain such a positive attitude and strong work ethic in the face of the unknown?

I have learned it essential to focus on what you can do today that will continue to grow when you are gone. In reality, no one can say with certainty that they will live for a defined period of time. But we all have today to do something that improves the life of another human being.

You don’t even have to do anything that profound today to make a difference for someone else. The things that change people’s lives are usually an accumulation of small acts. If I have one great conversation today, do a little research or writing that contributes to something larger, or read a book to my son, those all add up in the way I think about a day where I am fully charged.

 

“The things that change people’s lives are usually an accumulation of small acts.” –Tom Rath

 

Learn the 3 Keys to a Full Charge

Three keys to a Full Charge include meaning, interactions, and energy. Are You Fully Charged?offers practical, easy steps to energize your life and become more effective. At the same time, I don’t think most of us think of our lives in these buckets. How did you develop this approach?

While I have also worked on research and books about life in a more general sense, this one focuses more on the key ingredients of a great day, for yourself and others. So I think of these three elements as little reminders of things I need to try and spend time on within a given day. As I talk about in the book’s prologue, this work has been deeply influenced by recent research suggesting that our daily experience functions very differently from our overall satisfaction with life over decades.

 

“Doing for others may be the only way to create lasting well-being.” –Tom Rath

 

Find Purpose in Your Work

FullyChargedYou say to “make work a purpose, not just a place.” What practical steps can company leaders take to make that a reality?

I think it starts by going all the way back to the fundamental compact between a person and an organization. Companies are now pretty good at quantifying the value an employee adds to their bottom line, but very few do a good job of ensuring that each person’s life is better off as a result of joining the organization.

So leaders need to spend more time helping employees to see how their daily efforts are part of something much larger that makes a difference. One way to do this is to help employees hear directly from customers and communities who are benefiting from their daily work. What matters is not just that we make a little meaningful progress each day but that each person also has a chance to see and perceive this through their own lens.

 

“Make work a purpose, not just a place.” –Tom Rath

Leaders Require No Fine Print

No Fine Print Required

There I was, staring at the clock. It was late at night, or really early in the morning, and I had a meeting the next morning. Sleep was eluding me. Like a surfer, I would almost catch the wave to take me where I needed to go, but then it would dissipate before I could get going.

I tried deep breathing. Prayer. Meditation. I have never sought pharmaceutical help, but I have tried various herbal remedies. That’s when I remembered that I had purchased a new product that had melatonin in it. Melatonin is a hormone that supposedly helps with sleep. There have been times when that has been an aide to me, so I wandered downstairs to try it. Getting back into bed, the exhaustion once again seemed to take over…

Bam!

Suddenly, I was wide awake. Completely wired as if I had three cups of coffee. Not only was I no longer tired, I had a surge of energy. When that happens, I get up and read a book or do something productive around the house.

A few hours later, I picked up the bottle.

There, in the fine print, I read the words on the label. “Valerian.”

Valerian is an herb that helps some people sleep. I tried that before many years ago. I was one of the small percentage of people who don’t react with sleep, but in the opposite way. Apparently, this pill had a nice dose of it mixed with the melatonin.

 

“Leaders require no fine print.” -Skip Prichard

 

Pow!

How often do we read the fine print? How many times do you see an asterisk and read that footnote?

Nothing is more important than our character. A reputation or personal brand built without character inevitably fades, fails, or fizzles. Integrity is solid. When we have it, our friends can rely on us; our business partners trust us, and even our competitors admire us.

 

“Personal brands built without character fade, fail, and fizzle.” -Skip Prichard

 

Leadership and Punctuation

The Dangers of Not Getting Enough Sleep

For most of my life, I have struggled with getting enough sleep. When I tell people how little I sleep, they are complimentary. They generally see that it is the reason I am able to be a CEO and still read so many books. I consider myself a high-functioning insomniac because most people are not able to tell when I am tired.

So all good, right?

Not so fast.

I would gladly give all of that up for solid sleep, every single night. Getting little sleep is not a badge of honor. It is not something to brag about.

Not getting enough sleep can range from an occasional annoyance to a serious issue requiring medical help.  Sleep better and you increase your productivity, your odds of success, and your ability to lead.

Success Factor: Getting Enough Sleep

Do you get enough sleep?

 

 

“A well-spent day brings happy sleep.” –Leonardo da Vinci

 

There are numerous ways to improve your sleep habits, but recognizing whether you have a sleep issue is the first step.

Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

Here are a few of the dangers of not getting enough sleep:

  1. Increased chance of injury
  2. Decreased performance
  3. Impaired brain and heart function
  4. Likelihood of gaining weight
  5. Impaired memory
  6. Shorter life!
  7. Decreased immunity
  8. Increased stress
  9. Increased anxiety
  10. Lowered productivity
  11. Troubled relationships
  12. Mood swings
  13. Diminished response time
  14. Increased chance of blurting something out at a meeting that you regret or mumbling incoherently to yourself (no, really, I have no experience with this)
  15. Difficulty focusing or listening
  16. Decreased effectiveness
  17. Increased chance of getting sick

That’s quite a list. And you could easily add more in the comments.

 

“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.” –W.C. Fields

 

So how about you? Do you sleep well or struggle? Do you think it is a leadership and performance issue?

Do you have sleep problems?

 

So, what to do?  There are numerous ways to get more sleep.  I have plenty of experience with most of them.  Before I share my list, I wanted to learn from you.  Help me out.  Share your tips on how to get a good night’s rest in the comments or send me an email, tweet, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn comment.